Columbian Exposition engineer / FRI 7-4-14 / First-century governor of Britain whose name was Latin for farmer / Signer of Kansas-Nebraska Act / Through Dark Continent author 1878 / Creature outwitted by Hop-o'-my-thumb

Friday, July 4, 2014

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

Word of the Day: AGRICOLA (17A: First-century governor of Britain, whose name was Latin for "farmer") —
Gnaeus Julius Agricola (June 13, 40 – August 23, 93) was a Gallo-Roman general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain. Written by his son-in-law Tacitus, the De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae is the primary source for most of what is known about him, along with detailed archaeological evidence from northern Britain.
Agricola began his military career in Britain, serving under governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus. His subsequent career saw him serve in a variety of positions; he was appointed quaestor in Asia province in 64, then Plebeian Tribune in 66, and praetor in 68. He supported Vespasian during theYear of the Four Emperors (69), and was given a military command in Britain when the latter became emperor. When his command ended in 73, he was made patrician in Rome and appointed governor of Gallia Aquitania. He was made consul and governor of Britannia in 77. While there, he completed the conquest of what is now Wales and northern England, and led his army to the far north of Scotland, establishing forts across much of the Lowlands. He was recalled from Britain in 85 after an unusually lengthy service, and thereafter retired from military and public life. (wikipedia)
• • •

NEWTS / TENT (1D: Witches' brew ingredients / 19A: Trade fair presentation) … those are the first two words I put in the grid. If not for that stupendous, foolhardy double-error, this might've been close to my fastest Friday ever. As it was, it was just fast. As usual with Patrick Berry puzzles, this one is elegant and brimming with exciting fill—center-intersecting colloquialisms, vivid phrases, and not a junky answer in sight. Seriously. Nowhere. That's just unheard of. A handful of junky answers = normal. A small few = impressive. But none? None = impossible. I'm not sure I can find a real *fault* with this puzzle. Intersecting identical four-letter strings (e.g. BATTLE-SCARRED / BATTER UP)  = probably less than ideal, but … I can't really level that criticism with any conviction or even a straight face.

Trouble today came from proper nouns—namely FERRIS, the eponymous wheel guy who I didn't know was the eponymous wheel guy (30D: Columbian Exposition engineer)—and that little word at the end of HAVE A NICE … (15D: Send-off for the dear departed?). The question mark tells me it's not really an obituary or anything about the dead. It's a play on words, something you say to someone you love who is leaving. OK. HAVE A NICE … TIME? (buzzzzz). Oh, maybe it's very sad and the person is going away for ever and so HAVE A NICE … LIFE? (buzzzzzzzz). Gah. Finally [Veins' contents] and [Olympic skater Katarina] (both gimmes) got me FURROW, and thus, with that "R" cross, TRIP. HAVE A NICE TRIP. To my, let's say, credit, when I type "have a nice" into google, the first two suggested searches are completed by DAY and LIFE. If I'd only had the "T" from POT, but I just couldn't see that answer given the (very nice) clue (39A: All you can take with one hand).

I am not kidding when I say everything else in this grid, everything I haven't already mentioned, went down so fast I barely remember it. So, perhaps too easy, but terribly beautiful nonetheless.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


SenorLynn 12:15 AM  

This one had one or two "gimmies" in each quadrant,which made it run pretty easy for a Fri.
BOATER, key to NE. AGRICOLA, key to NW. ETHEL Kennedy, SOVIET, IROBOT, all came to me easily. SALMA Hayek *was* Frida Kahlo.
Last to fall was FERRIS, & I learned the 1893 Expo in Chicago had the 1st Ferris wheel.
Loved the clue for 39A: POT.
22:06 . Thanks, Mr. Berry.

Anonymous 12:15 AM  

Worst Fill: TAOS, NOVAS.....ORES?????

Super clean, solid.

Moly Shu 12:29 AM  

Yes, super clean and smooth, maybe a tad too easy. ANGEL, KARMA and SEC went straight in and made the NW fall except for the last letter of AGRICOLA. Went south and got ETHEL, STAR and IROBOT and it was over too soon.

Only mistake was notnow before IMBUSY. Easily corrected with a few downs. Loved the clues for POT and ESCARGOT.

My nominees for (relative) worst fill, SPA and BOA. A really, really good puzzle as usual from PB1.

Unknown 12:34 AM  

Medium here. 51 min. true solve. NE &SW fell in about 15 min. I needed another 35 to find some reasonable crosses in NE & SW where I had lots of options but no consistency.

In NE, notnow before IMBUSY was my false anchor. paleale before RYEBEER was the next false anchor. PIERCE was going to be a president. I just had to wait to see which. crockpOT before ESCARGOT was another detour. I had abandoned TURNEDRED early on. OMIT also seemed untrustworthy, so came and went. No gimmes.

In SW, rallies before BESTIRS. IROBOT came and went. The rest pieced together slowly from the center where I had good crosses. No gimmes in SW.

As always, it is a credit to the constructor when the breadcrumbs are big enough to find and close enough together to lead me home on a Friday.

jae 12:34 AM  

Very easy Fri. for me too.  My only erasure was SelMA to SALMA and I kinda knew SE was wrong.  "Frida" BTW is worth seeing. 

Solid and smooth.  Echo chamber here.  And yes, too easy.

Questinia 12:53 AM  

Friday in under 5 minutes? If the name Patrick Berry is associated with it then does a puzzle automatically attain Friday or Saturday status even though it's Tuesday-Wednesday easy?

Patrick, this girl is NOT SATISFIED!

but I still love you.

okanaganer 12:55 AM  

My [55 across] is abbreviations, of which this puzzle has...none. None!!! Well, maybe SEC, but not really cuz it's used all the time exactly as written (in contrast to those @%&$ contrived never-actually-used ones we see way too often). And the clue hints at the sorta-abbrev: "Brief wait".

Really about a Wednesday level; possibly my fastest Friday ever at under 13 minutes. But so nice!

Benko 1:26 AM  

I feel like this one was only run on Friday because it was a very well-constructed themeless. The difficulty level was definitely low for today. I finished under 3:30 on the iPad which is more of a Tuesday/Wednesday time for me.

Steve J 1:34 AM  

Definitely my fastest Friday ever. I used to be happy with Wednesdays I finished in the time it took me today.

I always expect solid, smooth, nearly blemishless puzzles out of Berry, and this was no exception. When the worst you could complain about is BESTIRS, you're doing well. But let's not get carried away here. This was simply an average Berry, not an amazing one (granted, average Berry is a cut above most everything else), and too easy for Friday.

(Again, I bring up a point I've made before: While I like the progressively difficult cadence of the puzzle week, I wish themes weren't relegated to Sunday-Thursday and themelesses to Friday-Saturday. There's nothing wrong with an easy themeless like this - in fact, I love puzzles like this - and I think it would be good to mix things up and run this on the Wednesday it should have been, while running tough themed puzzles on the weekends from time to time.)

chefwen 2:26 AM  

Of course @Rex rated it easy, fastest, Google free Friday in recent history for me. Handed it to Jon to fill in a couple, took it inside to escape a passing squall, was going to hand it back to him when it was safe to wander back outside, but to my amazement, it I was finished. Like @Steve J -my groaner was at BESTIRS.

Thank you Patrick Berry for a stress free Friday. Loved it!

chefwen 2:28 AM  

I wasn't finished - the puzzle was completed. Proof your comments lady. Doh!

GILL I. 3:05 AM  

Good grief! I never time myself because I'm always being interrupted or I have to get up to get something I've forgotten. Tonight, I'm the appointed 4 legged babysitter while the 2 legged kids are out having fun.
I download the puzzle, I see it's P Berry - oh goodie I say - I have the condo to myself, I pour a good Lodi Zin, put my feet up on the couch ready for a nice long battle and I'll be damned if this wasn't over before PIERCE, FERMI and STANLEY stayed around before the ink could dry.
I agree with @Questinia and @Steve J - this might have been a really, really good Tuesday or Wednesday. Now, I have to go to bed!
All of you East coasters...stay safe and don't "wear your stupid hat." Safe 4th of July everybody and don't eat too many hot dogs!

Billy 3:31 AM  

My first Friday! I don't think it's too easy, it was ... just right!

Danp 5:55 AM  

I second @Steve J's motion. A good themeless is far better than a bad themer. After yesterday's ego bruiser, I was happy to breeze through today's. I just wish a few of you would have whined about how hard it was. Just a few of you, please.

Jim Walker 6:06 AM  

Can't sleep. Patrick Berry! Oh good this will last 'til dawn. NSL. I guess it's Wallander on Netflix for me. Still beautiful, PB.

Uma 6:36 AM  

Am I nit picking or is 15 down awkward? I would have thought that the clue would be "Send-off for the dear departing". If the person has already left, then the present tense does not make sense to me. Of course I could be missing something obvious.

Mohair Sam 6:52 AM  

Happy Wednesday everybody! Typical clean Berry puzzle, but way too easy for the day of the week. Had only one write-over (SeLMA for SALMA) which usually happens on Mondays or Tuesdays.

Maybe Will knew that many of us have work to do before company arrives.

Happy Fourth - and keep your heads down if you're on the Cape.

Unknown 7:11 AM  

May have been my fastest time ever on a Friday. Felt Wednesdayish. Nicely constructed puzzle but can't say I loved it EXCEPT for the cluing of "TED". This Yankees fan thinks Williams was the greatest hitter ever.

r.alphbunker 7:30 AM  

The puzzle is not particularly POC-marked as one would expect for a Berry puzzle but there is one that stands out - ORES. Out of politeness I don't want to look at it and instead focus on the beauty of the puzzle but I can't help myself.

Speaking of beauty, 32D {Beauty magazine photo caption} AFTER was a gimme.

I am waiting for PHOTOSHOP to be clued as {Word never seen in a beauty magazine}. But that could change. I think that Photoshop would be a great name for a skin cream or a diet regime.

Glimmerglass 7:34 AM  

Even an easy Patrick Berry puzzle is fun. This one was not as difficult as I always hope for, especially on Fri. Sat. It was still a good experience. Perhaps for me, PB's secret is that although a fact is unknown to me, it is always inferable from a few crosses: FERMI, FERRIS, STANLEY, PIERCE.

Loren Muse Smith 7:48 AM  

I was so surprised at how easily I dispatched this beaut. My only erasure was "Apu" for ABE –I just don't speak Simpsons. My loss, I'm sure. We BATTLE SCARRED solvers from yesterday can take pleasure in today's ON A LEASH and ASHEN.

You know, I really don't know a lot about cooking, but I have learned from my obsession with shows like Top Chef, that a true French omelet is the test of an accomplished chef – just eggs cooked and folded beautifully and simply. It seems whereas other constructors add in all the ham, spinach, POT, cheese, . . .top with sour cream and salsa. . . Patrick just quietly scrambles his words, places them in the grid(dle), and, voila – a perfect offering sans the flashy additions that try to scream "look how good I am."

So to continue this awkward metaphor – want an omelet without the key ingredient, egg yolks? Patrick can serve it up, and you don't even miss it:


Now, of course, when he puts his mind to it, he certainly can deftly fancify a grid. A while back, Andrea and I were kicking around a theme with SSS – "homeless shelter," "witness stand," "business suit". . . Then she emailed me with this grid Patrick had done. Oops. Oh, well. Look at it carefully, or you'll miss the best part.


And speaking of omelets – here's another he did, "folding" in those ingredients. Again – look carefully at the top and bottom acrosses.


I can't add any praise to today's offering. His craft stuns me.

(From yesterday -
@leap – 10A was my favorite theme answer – I can't believe you got it with only two letters!
@Numinous – clever, clever, clever to justify your unchecked squares!! Loved your runtishly desperate clue for 8A, and I can just hear you say 7A – where are you from, anyway? Didn't know 2A or 6A, but I got'em easily enough with the crosses. Bravo!)

Patrick – I doubt you deign to read comments here, but if you do, well, please know that your puzzles are always a bright spot in my day.

Unknown 8:09 AM  

My fastest Friday ever. It was about a easy-medium Wednesday time for me.

Conrad 8:09 AM  

I'm normally a Sunday-through-Thursday solver. I don't have time on Fridays and Saturdays are just too much. But since today is a holiday (Happy Fourth, everyone!) I decided to give it a try. I agree with all the comments -- Tuesday-Wednesday easy, beautifully constructed.

If you want to learn about George Ferris and his wheel at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, read "Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson. The squeamish may want to skip the parts about serial killer H.H. Holmes, who lurks in the exposition's dark underbelly.

Unknown 8:15 AM  

Something else I liked (and that made it faster) is that the "?" clues/answers worked the same way, at least for the two I remember right now (BIPED and HAVEANICETRIP). The clues didn't have the conventional figurative meaning, but rather the strict literal meaning.

chefbea 8:23 AM  

I googled a bit but finished !!! And I never finish a Friday puzzle. Guess it was a reward for surviving yesterday!! Beautiful sunny day here

Happy 4th

Unknown 8:31 AM  

Agree with RP. No crud in the puzzle. Nicely clued and constructed. Easy, yes, but good. Last to fall for me was ESCARGOT. Had most of the crosses but I just couldn't see that particular tree in the forest.

Unknown 8:36 AM  

A fine tribute, a patriotic marvel!


Easy. Now to exhaust dog in the precious hour or so before our day turns to rainy mush,

Arlene 8:39 AM  

A Friday without Googling is a cause for celebration! This one was enough of a challenge, but still fun to work through. No feelings of "Friday hopelessness." YAY!

Lewis 8:42 AM  

Terribly beautiful indeed, Rex! Yes, easy for Friday, but it's a holiday, after all, and what a gift! Smooth as silk, with terrific clues for ANGEL, ESCARGOT, BATTERUP, and FOUR. What a terrific start to my holiday! Quality quality quality. It's the FEEL of a PB that is part of what makes it so special.8549

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP™): What answer follows OSLO and ELIOT to mark this special day?

If you wish to post an answer, just write the third letter so as not to give it away.

Lewis 8:42 AM  

Forget that 8549 -- it was my captcha.

chefbea 8:51 AM  

Forgot to mention before...I love escargot!!!

Fred Smith 9:00 AM  
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Anonymous 9:02 AM  

Crisp and yummy, so very Berry-like. But I can't imagine why this ran on a Friday.

lawprof 9:04 AM  

Forgive me for piling on. Elegant, fun, easy (in a good way). Makes one wonder what it takes to create a beautiful puzzle. Easy answer: genius! Thanks, Mr. Berry; you never dissapoint.

Charles Flaster 9:08 AM  

Love PB and his cleverness. Just about quickest Friday(9 minutes) but enjoyable.
Expected a July 4 theme but still well done PB.

Charles Flaster 9:14 AM  

Saw him at Yankee Stadium in 1950's and what a hitter.Always tried to see him on TV.A great American and there is our July 4 theme.

Numinous 9:19 AM  

AGRICOLA was a dead giveaway for me. Not only do I remember the word for farmer from junior high Latin but I'm vaguely familiar with his career. DEMO, which I hated, fell next and that led to the demise of the NW. The SE quickly followed with SALMA and SAAB starting it off. Then on to the SW and up the staircase to the NE. I misspelled FERMe and it took my staring at FERReS to figure it out. Added about a minute and a hald to my time.

I reckon I'm lucky not being a speed solver. I only really know the time becuase Magmic has a clock. Anyway, I had 45 minutes of fun with this.

@Lauren, because you asked: I'm from California but I'm in Georgia. I've lived in Alabama, West Virginia, Minneapolis, Berkeley and Los Angeles as well as Sydney, London and Geneva. So, no, I'm not Chav but due to convergence theory (I was a Communication Studies major at one point), I've spoken with a variety of accents in my life and I watch a bunch of BBC. I'm glad you enjoyed my runt.

Hands up for Orphan Black whoever mentioned that a while back. I finished Series 1 last night and now I find I have to pay for Series 2 on Amazon Prime which breaks my Scottish heritage heart. Having wortked in the American television industry, I should know the answer to this question, but I don't: why are Canadian and British television shows so very much better than our own? Ok, well maybe I do know the answer but I ain't saying it aloud.

I always dig a PB puzzle. In concert with @Rex, I thought this was eligant and slick. A delicious omelette.

Sir Hillary 9:28 AM  

A smooth, delicious Berry pie, as they always are. I could have used a little extra crunch in the clues, but there was not a sour fruit in the whole thing.

My solving path: NW, SW, middle 13s, NE, SE.

-- Fun to see ONALEASH (albeit not a short one) and ASHEN here again, as if they snuck in the back door of the movie theater.
-- BEFORE... crossing AFTER.
-- Winter sports locales TAOS and OSLO in a parallel slalom race.
Stacked Colonel Potter line: "IMBUSY, PIERCE."
-- Adjacent FOUR PUTTS suggests my golf game.
-- Tea Party slogan: "The BESTIRS is no IRS!"
-- NY Post headline about the slumping David Wright: METHADONE PETPEEVE: "BATTER UP!"

@Lewis - A

Happy 4th, everyone!

AliasZ 9:31 AM  

What an ice July 4th present from Will Shortz! Not much in the way of fireworks, but solid, unforced, smooth an snazzy. Patrick Berry, you rule!

What made it easy was the utter legitimacy and naturalness of all the words and phrases, every single one of them rolling off the tongue with ease. The cluing could have been more cryptic to toughen it up, but we have a cryptic Variety puzzle this week.

How will you celebrate Independence Day?

If you are going to skate, I hope you don't HAVE AN ICE TRIP.

Let's all raise our glasses of RYE BEER in this IRISH PUB to commercial advertising and tax collectors:

Here's TO ADS!
Here's to the BEST IRS!

This is how KARMA is explained in the Mahabharata:

Happiness comes due to good actions, suffering results from evil actions,
by actions, all things are obtained, by inaction, nothing whatsoever is enjoyed.
If one's action bore no fruit, then everything would be of no avail,
if the world worked from fate alone, it would be neutralized.

Let me express my personal heartfelt thanks to the greatest country on Earth, that welcomed and accepted me over four decades ago, and millions more before and since, with open arms, and is still the last best hope for humankind. Let us not mess Her up.

Here is another immigrant expressing the same sentiments in a way I couldn't in my wildest dreams.

You no see my post mean I ROBOT.

Nancy 9:36 AM  

Is it really Friday today? Is this really a Patrick Berry puzzle? I look forward to suffering on Friday, as well as on Saturday, and I didn't suffer at all. What fun is that? Much, much too easy.

Fred Smith 9:37 AM  

@James Dean--

Ted Williams, AKA "The Splendid Splinter" and "Teddy Ballgame," was the only player to hit over .400 over a full career.

Who know what else he may have accomplished had he not served as a Marine aviator in WWII and Korea. John Glenn, who flew with him in Korea, called him the best combat pilot he'd ever seem. "The Right Stuff," indeed!

I was privileged to see him play in my first trip to Fenway in 1960. Ah-h-h, that vivid childhood memory of the first sight of all that lush mown grass, as I came up the ramp into the stands...

- Fred

quilter1 9:45 AM  

Did this one from the bottom up. Terrific puzzle. All hail, Mr. Berry. Just lovely.

Z 9:46 AM  

The guy makes it look so easy.

@Mohair Sam - I avoided that writeover by not writing anything and waiting for the cross. I know it's not SeLMA but I always pause anyway.

@Questina - There is something vaguely Cosmo-ish about your post. I almost TURNED RED.

Interesting pre-game at the Tiger-Rays game last night. Twenty people became citizens on the field. Really awesome to see. The Trinity Quartet singing God Bless America for the ceremony was enough to choke up even the most cynical. This was followed by a Marine delivering the game ball to the mound. Usually the servicemen and women deliver the ball and leave the field smiling and waving to the crowd. This guy marches off the field with a serious face. In front of 35,000 fans he goes to his girlfriend, drops to a knee, and proposes. Most patriotic rah-rah stuff leaves me cold. Last night at the ball-game - wow.

Stay safe everyone.

Fred Smith 9:59 AM  

Whoops, I was wrong about Ted Williams lifetime batting average. He was all time 8th at .344. Ty Cobb was first at .366.

FWIW ...

Bob Kerfuffle 10:05 AM  

SELMA => SALMA (A Mistake I Always Make!)

Happy and safe holiday, everyone!

(Personal to lms - Someone offered a hint yesterday, but I still cannot figure out 18 D in your latest runtpuz. A dry-erase chalk board?)

Steve J 10:05 AM  

@Conrad: I second the recommendation for Devil in the White City. Fascinating book. It's remarkable how many things we took for granted in the 20th century originated at the Columbian Exposition.

@Fred Smith: Ted Williams was a fantastic player, but he wasn't super-human, as a career .400 average would require. The highest career batting average in baseball is .366, and that was achieved by Ty Cobb. Ted Williams is tied for 7th on the all-time batting average list, at .344. He does have the highest career on-base percentage, at .481. Which is amazing: essentially every other time he had an at-bat, he made it on base.

@Z: Very cool story from the Tigers game. Seeing people become citizens is a fantastic thing to observe. I've known a few people when they've gone through the ceremony, and the pride they have is inspiring.

Happy Independence Day everyone! Have fun and stay safe.

r.alphbunker 10:15 AM  
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mac 10:15 AM  

Lovely puzzle, although easy for a Friday. Enjoyed every bit of it, anyway.

I too always have to think before the Salma/Selma answer. Wrote in Oxycodone before methadone, didn't know meth was an analgesic.

At 15D I had "have a .... trip and considered nice and safe.

Love battle scarred and the before/after cross is brilliant.

Probably not a lot of barbecues going on in CT this 4th of July. We've decided on boiled lobster instead.

joho 10:17 AM  

As @Loren already mentioned we see ONA(SHORT)LEASH and ASHEN again just a day later. I still find it hard to believe this is random. I mean really, what are the odds?

I agree with everybody who loves Patrick Berry and his flawless, unequaled ability to create puzzles we all enjoy so much. He is in a league all by himself

I wish everybody here a very happy 4th of July!

r.alphbunker 10:17 AM  

I was deeply offended by
FUDGE 30A {G-rated oath}

What can we expect to see next? MONKEY FLUNKER?


jberg 10:19 AM  

Like everyone else, I loved it and found it easy. Ok, ORES -- but as for BESTIRS, I liked it. When I wrote it in, I said to myself "here's one of those be- and a- words that people actually use. Nice!"

Only two things to add:

1) The clue for 17A was too easy for a Friday; once we know it's Latin for farmer, we didn't need to know he was a Roman general; he might as well have been a Renaissance composer.

2) The reason this ran on a Friday is that those two bits of ASH (pointed out by @Loren and @Sir Hillary) were blown here by the force of the explosion.

Numinous 10:20 AM  

That would be my guess, @Bob. And try to remember this: SELMA is in Alabama, SALMA is in Hollywood, CA.

I neglected to mention that I hope y'all here eat too many hamburgers, bratwursts, steaks and ribs, too much coleslaw and potato salad, and drink a few too many beers. Enjoy our national BBQ day and be proud of who we are!

Leapfinger 10:24 AM  

Anything really smooth goes down quickly. Once upon a time I gave a party, made a pitcher of a new drink I thought I'd try out --- the Velvet Hammer, equal parts Cointreau, white creme de cacao, vodka and heavy cream. Everyone got a glass, drank it down...and suddenly half the party was curled up comfy and asleep in the corners. So I learned my lesson, took my solve Berry slow. I like to prolong the pleasure.

Had to hang fire over PERE vs mERE, and also ran the life-time-TRIP route. Had A NICE TRIP over the POT. For unknown reasons, Wilde's MAUVE quote amused me immensely.

@loren, re 10A: The last 4 letters were a gimme; I would have made the start NAY but for having the B. Don't worry, I had some heap o' trouble mid-bottom.

Hello again, ASHEN ONALEASH!

Noted Franklin PIERCE as a Northern DEMOcrat with an anti-abolition SLATE. Signing the Kansas-Nebraska Act hastened Southern secession, so quite appropriate entries for today.

OTOH, was somewhat taken aback by the string of SOVIET-PURGE-BATTLESCARRED. If these observations are considered too political, I'll just blame the Berry and FERMI ma bouche.

BEFORE I FORGET: Today I will not measure out my life with coffee spoons; I will dare to eat a PERE...with hot FUDGE sauce. Perehaps I'll regret it later, but at least I TOAD you so.

Happy Fourth to one and all!

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

I recommend Erik Larsen's book The Devil in the White City where you'll learn about the first Ferris wheel created for the Columbian Exposition in Chicago set against the hunt (very real) for a serial killer.. A great page turner.

OISK 10:31 AM  

Thought Agricola was a silver cough drop. Just echoing what nearly everyone else said. Lovely puzzle, easy for a Friday. Beautiful fill, and devoid of what has become an almost daily hip-hop rap reference. ( again, because some bristle, I don't say they shouldn't appear, just that they are meaningless and bothersome to me!) Yesterday's took twice as long, although I liked in overall. Not-so-fast food? LOL! Great stuff, thanks again Patrick!

(apologize for bad pun, Agricola was actually a gimme)

Numinous 10:33 AM  

@Mac: METHADONE is a synthetic opioid used to treat pain and heroine addiction by relieving the symptoms of withdrawal. Sadly, it's about as addictive as heroine.
Meth is Methamphetamine which was used to treat ADHD and obesity. It's been called crystal and speed. Think of METHADONE as slow.

Numinous 10:34 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
donkos 10:39 AM  

Happy Fourth of July!

If you want a remarkable accounting of the Columbian Exposition, Erik Larson's "Devil in the White City" is remarkably well researched and an unbelievable story. Ferris' contribution to the modern world cannot be overstated - his Ferris wheel gave Engineers the confidence to use steel as a lightweight building material.

Fred Smith 10:39 AM  

@Steve J --

Yep, yer right, Ted did not hit over .400 career, but he did over a full season, .406 in 1941. Maybe near-superhuman. :-)

-- Fred

PS, I did correct my error before you posted...

August West 10:49 AM  

What Questinia said.

Fred Romagnolo 10:59 AM  

Only write-over: HAVE A safE TRIP, due to concern for the "dear" departed. I did think IRISH PUB was kinda green-painty. Berry's the best. ESCARGOT had my favorite clue. If I remember correctly, PIERCE was a close personal friend of Hawthorne.

Leapfinger 10:59 AM  

As @Numinous said, METHADONE is about as addictive as heroin and morphine, and is used because it controls some problems associated with using street drugs, such as crime and overdose. I went off on a tangent thinking about this, because METHADONE programs are generally accepted as a valid approach to addiction, while needle-exchange programs and bleach kits, which were proven to control HIV transmission, went largely unfunded and otherwise squashed for 'sending the wrong message'. Go figure; control is control.

mac 11:10 AM  

@Numinous: thank you!

jae 11:10 AM  

@Numinous - If you have a cable subscription (Time Warner, Cox...) check the On Demand channel for Orphan Black season 2.

For more vintage British TV google Acorn.

Steve J 11:13 AM  

@Fred Smith: Ah, I see that now. You must have posted while I was writing up my response.

One way or another, few people have ever been better at hitting a baseball than Ted Williams. Add in his military service, and he's quite remarkable. (Too bad his legacy got tarnished by the craziness surrounding his death.)

jdv 11:17 AM  

Easy. This is proof a puzzle can be created without abbreviations, suffixes, etc. Recommend hanging this piece of art in the Louvre.

redanman 11:24 AM  

knew FERRIS te ll me FUDGE

Benko 11:26 AM  

Most heroin addicts who go on METHADONE take their allotted dose every day and then go out and score more opiates in whatever form on top of it. There's nothing quite like going cold turkey to break oneself of an addiction. Although opiate withdrawal is extremely unpleasant, it actually isn't as dangerous as withdrawal from alcohol or tranquilizer addiction.

Masked and Anonymo6Us 11:41 AM  

Butt ugly. Horrid. Laughable. Amateurish. Filled with desperation. Unworthy of NYT publishment. No stars. Bleh.

Oh... wait... that was this little guy:

(Just thought U might wanna watch a Road Runner cartoon, after havin feasted on the Citizen Kane of crossword puzs.) Amazin work, PB1. I am not worthy. Really liked ORES.

Wile. E. M. & A.

Andrew Heinegg 11:52 AM  

Ok, we can all agree that this was a lovely puzzle and that it was a bit out of place for a Friday, especially a holiday Friday when most folks have more time to contemplate this. That said, Mr. Berry does not tell the NYT when to run his puzzles. I just wonder if all the people, myself included, who sharply criticize Mr Shortz think we could do a better job than him. Let's just say that I have my doubts.

Maruchka 11:59 AM  

Ah, PB. Lovely to have so many Bs, Fs, Ps, and Vs, esp: BESTIRS! FURROW! PET PEEVE! VIES FOR!

Bodacious Fine Puzzle, Verily.

Now on to the Boldly Famous Potato(salad) Viand.

A glorious 4th to one and all.

Bob Kerfuffle 12:01 PM  

Today's topic for discussion: Is the Runtpuz more accurately defined as akin to Methadone or to Cocaine?

@M&A - LOL, as always. 2:42

Leapfinger 12:22 PM  

@Gill I.P., enjoyed the image of you as a four-legged pet-sitter. Will be happy to lend you a couple of hyphens if yer runnin' short...on yer four little legs.

@loren, couldn't access your links [sob]. I see I shall have to do the right thing and pony up for xwordinfo.

@Alias, are you saying the BEST IRS is a dead IRS?

The USA didn't actually welcome me in from the Old Country; I weaseled my way here from the True North Strong and Free on a student visa, but nonetheless I hope I've given back for the decades of discovery and opportunity I've enjoyed.

Appreciating the nod to the day @46D.

Dick Swart 12:22 PM  

A puzzle that has Agricola, Ferris, Pierce, Stanley, and Eliot as 'gimmes" is greatly appreciated by this (much) older Liberal Arts grad than a slew of names related to the current music scene (and by current I am thinking 25 years).

Thank you, Mr Berry for a pleasant start to the Glorious Fourth.

The question of whether this was a Wednesday v a Friday is totally a nit-pick when compared to the delight of doing the puzzle!

r.alphbunker 12:26 PM  

M & A

Let me add another "like" to the puzzle making five. There is so much good stuff here I really don't know where to begin.

Four self-reference clues!

And a TMI clue! 4A {Way to send a half-completed Suduko puzzle to California}. Brilliant progression on this one!
{Way to send}
{Way to send a Sudoku}
{Way to send a completed Sudoku}
{Way to send a half-completed Sudoku}
{Way to send a half-completed Sudoku to California}

Might I add
{Way to send a half-completed Sudoku to California, quickly}

{Way to send a half-completed Sudoku to a friend in California, quickly}

{Way to send a half-completed, mostly correct Sudoku to a friend in California, quickly}

I guess you didn't have time to really do this justice.

Dolgoruky 12:34 PM  

I guess they wanted to give us plenty of time to celebrate ttoay! For me, it was by far the easiest Friday in memory. Latin class helped me start out woth a bang.

M and Also 12:53 PM  

har. day-um, @r.alph. Only thing that last clue verion needed was a "but I digress..." at the end. Thanx.

@BobK: Wowza, dude.. Not sure I could solve anything at all, in 2:42. Maybe this puz...


1. Word most often clued by r.alph
2. ME
1. TM
2. That is really short

@muse: I already know what your bill-collectin type mind is thinkin... "This M&A runtpuz has no U's. Man, am I ever gonna unload on him...". Aw con treyair, mon amiga. Every single white square in that there runt is part of the great, universal U. So, QED, or somesuch.

Happy Independence Day, y'all! Don't blow yer pencil off, celebratin...

"Beep beep"

AnonyX 12:53 PM  


Some of us were tempted to fill in 15a with AND. Others probly filled in 6d, but need an explanation.

M and A Helpish Desk 1:04 PM  

clue version, not verion.
@AnonyX: 6d... think Margana.

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

Easy, nice lazy puzzle for the 4th. This can't be Friday?!
Anyway we made chumpmeat out of this PatrickBerry.


Dan and Anna

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

6 down is a terrible clue. Taos was not on the Santa Fe Trail in any realistic sense. This same error was in the NYT puzzle many years ago, and I called it to the attention of Mr Shortz. He dismissively referred me to the website of a New Mexico real estate agent (!) making this claim. For what it's worth, I contacted the New Mexico State Historical Society and they agreed with me.

AnonymX 1:41 PM  

Ah, Margana! I'm guessing the anagramer, not the moth or ancient city. First time in the doorway of my wheelhouse.

GILL I. 2:38 PM  

@jetededo...Your Velvet Hammer reminds me of the "Jillitini." Tequila, sweet lime juice and pineapple juice stirred not shaken and poured in a frosted martini glass. Except no one ends up in a corner asleep. Hugging the seat of the throne is more like it...
Son got us tickets for the USS Midway where we shall sit up on deck and watch the Big Bay Boom. But first, lunch at Old Town....It's gonna be a long day but fun!
I too love this country and sure am proud to a red-blooded one!
Happy, happy fourth ya'll.

Maruchka 2:52 PM  

@Gill - Speaking of c'tails: I will be grinding out quantities of slushy Pina Coladas for me and my fireworks-watching companeros. NYC was a hot, steamy mess at signature drink decision time yesterday. Today, not so sure. Rainy, cool and windy. Hot toddies might be more suitable. Like the Jillitini - oh, any Tini. Ahoy and Cheers! Blow 'em up real good tonight..

LaneB 2:55 PM  

Expected a clever 4th of July theme, but no...Really enjoyed being able to march steadily through this one. A day when the old brain didn't let me down. Indeed an "elegant" puzzle, Mr. Berry. For which I'm grateful.

Brookboy 3:23 PM  

Could not resist chiming in to expand on the Ted Williams trivia. This is from Wikipedia:

"Before the (final season) game on September 28 (1941), Williams was batting .39955, which would have been rounded up to a .400 average. Williams, who had the chance to sit out the final, decided to play a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics. Williams explained that he didn't really deserve the .400 average if he did sit out. Williams went 6-for-8 on the day, finishing the baseball season at .406. (The present-day baseball sacrifice fly rule was not in effect in 1941; had it been, Williams would have hit .416.)"

Can't help but wonder how many other players would make the same decision to play and risk the .400 average.

Thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle, had pretty much the same reaction as so many others.

ANON B 4:24 PM  

Whenever I see a commenter
refer to a "gimmee" I recall
Senor Wences, one of whose
favorite expressions was
"Easy for you, for me
Using the term "gimmee" is
just a way of showing off,
which I, for one, could
do without.

Anonymous 5:02 PM  

> NEWTS / TENT (1D: Witches' brew ingredients / 19A: > Trade fair presentation) … those are the first two > > words I put in the grid.

Hmmm. These answers are TOADS/DEMO on the grid.

ANON BC 5:08 PM  


I don't get it. 'Gimmee'/
'gimmie'/'gimme' is just shorthand for "I was sure about this". Would saying [something] was in your wheelhouse be better? Not sure about your source for acceptable conventions.

Would you like a full explanation of how each particular thing came to be known? That could take too long. Or do you think we should only mention what gave us trouble? That's too glass-half-empty.

Atlantasolver 5:17 PM  

Amazing thing is that baseball wasn't Ted Williams's best sport. He was probably the greatest fly fisherman ever.

wreck 5:19 PM  

I hesitate to use the word "easy" just because the puzzle was fast. To me, it is more of the fact that it is so well constructed, it flows so quickly. Calling it Tuesday or Wednesday worthy is insulting in my opinion.

wreck 5:21 PM  

What was Ted's average in angling?

Anonymous 5:23 PM  


I just did KP#125 "Cheese Hoarders". For 10A "Scrape ground before contacting the golf ball", I wanted SOD OFF...

Outlaw M and A, sorta 5:28 PM  

p.p.s.s. & btw
Sincere congrats to @muse and @numinous for their latest round of mini-cruciverbalisms, yesterday. Thanx for the entertainment. Have a whole new respect for unchecked squares and ASE.

Biggest thanx of all to Patrick Berry. Your fill is so doggone smooth, it's almost impossible to clue it hard enough to make it a FriPuz. Boggles my mind, dude.


Lewis 5:35 PM  


OSLO is answer #7, ELIOT is 4, so the solution is ONALEASH, 14, to make 7/4/14

Good get, @SirHillary!

Z 5:50 PM  

Easy?... A rarely mentioned President from 160 years ago, a 2,000 year old Roman governor of Britain, a nuclear physicist, a 19th century memoirist best known for who he met, Russian, George ELIOT clued by a quote, a 19th century eponym, an East German ice skating star, a four letter car company. And we haven't mentioned the word play or that BOATER is actually a hat and not just a pejorative for recent immigrants. I have to agree with M&A - the construction is so smooth that this otherwise tough as always Friday is just impossible to clue more difficulty (without going to your 16th century German Poets and such).

GvtCnslr 6:25 PM  

I welcome a PB1 any day of the week and appreciate the true artistry. That it was easy simply ut the icing on the cake!

Doc John 6:31 PM  

Also my fastest Friday- by far!
Nice little piece of trivia about NOVA. GM tried to introduce the car to the South American market under the same name but it didn't sell very well. Finally, someone realized (or was told) that NO VA means "doesn't go" in Spanish. Score another for American ingenuity.

Anonymous 7:13 PM  

When I was in grade school about 70 years ago, about to enter high school, I asked my mother about Latin and she said the only thing she remembered from her Latin classes was that Agricola meant a farmer. My remembering tnat today gave me the entry to solve a Friday puzzle in rather short time, with no Googling, and a Patrick Berry at that. That gave me a good warm glow. Thanks, Mom.

Fred Romagnolo 8:32 PM  

Agricola, my pretty little poppy. For the old-timers, I mean really old-timers

Elle54 9:05 PM  

I feel undone that I've never heard of Agricola. Yikes!

Anonymous 9:06 PM  

@Sig. Romagnolo, some of us old-timers in training have time-traveled back to Jimmy Dorsey and Helen O'Connell, but it really hasn't been necessary. That lovely tune appeared in 'Once Upon a Time in America', and was even recorded by Andrea Boccelli just a few years ago.

sanfranman59 10:02 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 5:59, 6:02, 0.99, 45%, Medium
Tue 7:33, 8:33, 0.88, 17%, Easy
Wed 9:06, 9:31, 0.96, 42%, Medium
Thu no data
Fri 11:42, 21:03, 0.56, 1%, Easy (2nd lowest ratio of 235 Fridays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:23, 3:55, 1.12, 88%, Challenging
Tue 5:00, 5:21, 0.93, 24%, Easy-Medium
Wed 5:32, 5:58, 0.93, 31%, Easy-Medium
Thu no data
Fri 7:52, 13:03, 0.60, 1%, Easy (2nd lowest ratio of 235 Fridays)

SandyM 11:12 PM  

I don't understand 39A. Why is all you can hold in one hand POT?

r.alphbunker 11:16 PM  

No one commented on these answers
ABBEY 44D {'The Name of the Rose' setting}
ENROLL 24D {Register}
INSOFAR 21D {To such an extent}
LAPEL 42D {Name tag location}
MARGINOFERROR 31A {Poll calculation}
NAB 22A {Apprehend}
OGRE 28D {Creature outwitted by Hop-o'-My-Thumb}
RUNOUT 54A {Dry up}
SPEARS 56A {Phalanx weapons}
WITT 48D {Olympic skater Katarina}

Took me a while to get ENROLL because I thought it had only one L.

Z 11:17 PM  

@Sanford Meyersfield - the clue is "all one can take with one hand." In one hand of poker you can win, or take, the POT,.

r.alphbunker 11:17 PM  

Because you are holding your cards in the other hand?

Z 11:20 PM  

@r.alphbunker - I mentioned WITT by her East Germaness.

BTW - just had a brown blob for the captcha. 42 worked fine. I, ROBOT.

John Towle 3:32 PM  

My favorite Ted Williams quote: "If you don't think too good, don't think too much." Probably the best hand/eye coordination in baseball. He could see the seam of the baseball as it came toward him & thus could time the contact of his bat's sweet spot with the ball for maximum efficiency & power. Only Joe DiMaggio & Willie Mays fielded better. They could tell where the ball was going to land in the outfield at the crack of the bat, so all they had to do was lope to that spot, hold out their glove & catch it. All three players were joys to watch. A home run for Ted's last at bat...brings tears to my eyes every time I think of it.



Sennacherib 3:04 PM  

Finished this one before I finished my eggs. Easy but fun, handsome looking c/w. Got stuck briefly in SW, had BRA instead of BOA. Lots of cool historical figures

Sennacherib 3:08 PM  

Anyone else briefly consider NOVAE?

Karen 10:12 AM  

Great puzzle! Ridiculously easy for a Friday, but the wit and charm made up for it. My favorite clue? "Not so fast food." I agree that this is "as close to perfect a...themeless grid construction as you're ever going to see."

Anonymous 3:41 PM  

OK, agreed that it had an awful lot of gimmes for a PB puzzle, but still enjoyable -- I'm amazed Rex found it "easy" even with all those gimmes. Well disguised cluing with nothing to complaint about, all legit. Escargot, LOL. Glad that I committed to no googling when I saw PB’s name. Only missed one square, where two obscure proper nouns crossed. I had to keep putting it down and going back to it later, because I needed to clear my mind of fixed directions for the answer and come back with a fresh lateral response. Classic type of puzzle, but too many gimmes for a Friday, totally agreed.

Waxy in Montreal 9:39 AM  

BEFOREIFORGET, let me assure you that I am not @hasnain raza who apparently has recently consumed too much RYEBEER at his neighborhood IRISHPUB.

Extremely easy Friday as confirmed by @sanfranman59's rankings. Fun puzzle including ONALEASH and ASHEN, both bleedovers from Thursday. Only writeovers were NEWTS before TOADS and VEGAS before NOVAS.

Nuff said. IMBUSY for the rest of today enjoying a beautiful August day with several of our grandkids.

394. FUDGE!

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Has it occurred to anyone that an easier than usual puzzle for a Friday is a deliberate act. After all, who wants to spend extra time solving when there are so many other things to do on a holiday. I've noticed the same on other holidays.

Ron Diego

spacecraft 1:16 PM  


If we wanted to search for nits to pick--where's my magnifying glass?--I suppose we could point to the partials TAKESTO and VIESFOR, but both are solidly in the language, so that's fine.

Fun clues besides the marvelous "All you can take with one hand" include "Being in heaven," "Upstanding one?," "Field strip' and "Cork bar."

Bleedovers; ONALEASH, ASHEN. The fallout continues.

What can I say? A.

553, a loser. Who cares? I had a nice trip.

rain forest 1:22 PM  

It's kind of redundant to comment today. Foreplay as read, as it were. Lovely, and over too quickly.

Some, like Berry, have a way with words, while others...not...have...way.

137 shite.

eastsacgirl 1:58 PM  

beautiful Friday.look hard at first glance it got easier thereafter.

DMG 2:19 PM  

Loved this one! PB always makes me believe I know things I'm sure I don't. That said, I had a real slow-down unraveling the confusion caused by confidentially entering mAsters at 1A. Eventually I got there, only to fall at defining a plowed row as a FaRROW (Mia on my mind?). Did leave me wondering what a PaTT was! Some days my brain just takes a walk!

Beginning to wish the discussions of other puzzles took place in other blogs, or at least had a warning note. That's not a criticism of the puzzles or puzzlers, just that the comments are not relevant and confusing, e.g. PB's puzzle had no 4A.

465. Maybe tomorrow?

Dirigonzo 3:28 PM  

What some solvers don't seem to understand is that one can always make a seemingly too easy puzzle more difficult with a couple of well placed wrong answers. So, for example, entering "notnow" where IMBUSY belongs, and "chad" ("Bit of paperwork", get it? - surely you haven't forgotten?) instead of FORM can leave you staring at the whole section for minutes at a time. It's strange how I often need the long answers to fill in the short ones - I think it's supposed to work the other way around. Other than that, what everybody else said (about the puzzle, not all that unrelated stuff).

157 - so far it looks like @Waxy's FUDGE might take the POT.

KariSeattle 5:51 PM  

Loved it ! First google free Friday for me! It is true that you do improve with practice! In my case, glacially slow, but I'll have a bounce in my step today! Thanks Mr Berry! (my Fave)!

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